Thursday, February 14, 2008

Target Begs to Be Heard in John Legend Subway Promotion

Retailer Offers Exclusive Album in Physical and -- Wait for It -- Digital Form

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe and Charlie Moran in Ad Age Songs for Soap on 01.23.08 @ 10:35 AM

Target is finally pushing its presence in the digital music space with a promotion around a new album from John Legend, "Live From Philadelphia." The disc was launched exclusively in Target stores last week and is also available in DRM-free MP3 format through Sony BMG on The album download -- a la carte purchases are not available -- contains 19 tracks and retails for $9.99.

The launch is featured on interactive subway billboards in the NYC subway that have fully functional headphone jacks embedded into them; plug in your earbuds, and you can hear samples of various tracks on the disc as well as a short message from the artist himself. Songs for Soap found one of the Peterson Milla Hooks-designed displays at the Third Ave. L-line stop, where it was flanked by more enormous (non-functional) John Legend posters. Pepsi has used similar technology in Canada, and Target had a nearly identical display last year for an exclusive dance compilation.

Target has maintained a steady presence in the physical album market but has thus far stayed away from digital downloads, an arena in which other giant retailers like Amazon and Borders are now stepping into. According to a story in Digital Music News, a Target representative said the initiative may serve as a template for the future and that the retailer has been "a sleeping giant in the digital space up until now."
Pepsi Lures Timberlake Back to the Super Bowl Music Promotions by Burger King, Cola Co. Gird Gridiron Contest

Originally posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs for Soap 01.16.08 @ 10:42 AM

Four years after Nipplegate, Justin Timberlake is slipping back into the Super Bowl.

Pepsi and Amazon are launching a $1 billion Pepsi Stuff "collect-and-get program" promotion, and the multi-talented performer has been tapped to promote it in a Super Bowl ad this February. It's the first time Timberlake has appeared in the big game since a record-breaking $550,000 fine was imposed upon CBS for his and Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during the halftime show in 2004.

For the Pepsi Stuff promotion this year, four billion specially marked Pepsi products will offer points that can be redeemed for music from the Amazon MP3 store. The songs -- sans DRM -- can be played on virtually any digital portable device, including Apple's iPod, organized in any music management application or burned to CD. Five points will earn consumers one MP3 from the libraries of EMI Music, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group and "tens of thousands of other music labels," though the list unmistakably omitted Universal, who are not part of this promotion thanks to stalled negotiations. Additionally, points can also be applied towards bigger-ticket items.

Separately, Burger King is running an online contest that combines the Super Bowl, gospel singing and user-generated content as part of a "My Song, My Way" campaign. Until January 28, participants can upload an acapella video performance, and winning contestants will receive an all-expenses-paid vacation to Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix, Arizona. The winners will also be invited to perform alongside NFL players at the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, which takes place at Phoenix Symphony Hall.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

... And Now for the Best Brand-Music Tie-Ins of 2007
Artist-Brand Models Came of Age This Year

Originally posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs for Soap on 12.19.07 @ 11:15 AM

It wouldn't be a complete end-of-year blog fest if we didn't also cover the top artist brand tie-ins, where musicians and marketers developed integrated and mutually beneficial campaigns. From smart, well-executed ideas to the start of some interesting new business models, here's my selection of favorites, in no particular order:

Prince and The Mail On Sunday
His royal purpleness' tie-in with British Newspaper The Mail on Sunday was an impressive foray into the world of new business models. Prince allowed the paper to give away a copy of his latest CD, creating a massive uplift in sales and enough publicity to sell out 21 consecutive nights at top British rock venue the O2 Centre.

Prince and Verizon
Meanwhile, back home, Prince used the same imagery in his promotion with Verizon for V Cast, where the first single from the album was made available exclusively to owners of the handset, promoting the new phone/service and giving artists a new marketing feature whereby they can link their song to a website.

Rihanna and Cover Girl
A nice tie-in between Cover Girl and Rihanna worked well for both parties, as the singer became the new face of the P&G brand and received huge exposure on billboards, in print and in a TV Commercial featuring her mega-smash-hit "Umbrella."

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill with Jeep
Jeep's sponsorship of husband/wife country superstars Tim Mcgraw and Faith Hill's "Soul 2 Soul " tour was the winner of Billboard's inaugural Billboard Concert Marketing & Promotion awards in 2007. The deal built upon the long-standing personal relationship the couple had with Jeep and, amongst other things, featured VIP performances for dealers and contest winners and an ad campaign featuring "My favorite Jeep story."

Missy Elliot and Doritos
As Charlie noted in September, this Doritos "Collisions" campaign was "executed beautifully on the web through the site at Snack Strong Productions where fans can mix disco, reggae, mariachi and a number of other genres into Missy's beat to make something sorta-new out of it."

This year is just the beginning. In 2008, we'll see a spate of deals with artists who no longer need to use traditional label structures, and many of them will become marketers and business partners with brands like Diddy did with Ciroc and Drinks America did with Interscope.

Happy Holidays...